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Tires - spare? - run flat?

Tires - spare? - run flat?

Just wondering if there is a real spare?

Or could run flat tires be fitted?

(roadster had "fix-a-flat" can)

David M. | April 10, 2012

I've had run flat tires in the past. It's the hardest ride you could ever imagine, and Loud!

I've been driving for 37 years. In that time, I have had a total of 2 flats. I'd rather not haul around spare tires anymore. I'll take the cargo space instead.

stevenmaifert | April 10, 2012

I'm hoping TM will offer some sort of optional doughnut spare and a jack that will fit in the frunk. I'm okay driving around town without a spare, but taking the S cross country without one would really make me nervous. It's a peace-of-mind thing.

flar | April 10, 2012

At the showroom they indicated that they were planning to go with the same "fix a flat" solution for Model S.

petero | April 10, 2012

I am not a big fan of run flat tires. Poor ride, expensive to replace. Perhaps TM will consider throwing in Roadside Assistance for the first 36/36? Many auto manufacturers offer this (Jeep and Subaru). Then there is always AAA (Auto Club).

I have only had about 4-6 flats in the 45 years I have been driving. I use to change my own tires- now I make the call. I have had far more problems with a car not starting and once running out of gas.

MandL | April 11, 2012

At the Tesla showroom in DC last Thanksgiving the engineer visiting with the Model S was very clear they wouldn't be offering a spare or run flat tires. I get that they don't want to add the weight or compromise the ride, but how about programming the air-suspension to enable it to ride on three wheels like a Citroen? At least then one could cruise to a more interesting place to hang out and wait for the rescue.

DallasTXModelS | April 11, 2012

I had a 1987 Riviera that had independant suspension and it would run on 3 tires. I saw that the 21" tires are going to be Continental. Continental self sealing/run flat tires came on my 2008 Charger and a month after I got it the tires were included in a class action suit and they never made 20K miles. I have always gotten 55K - 60K or more on GoodYear Eagle tires.

I would really like to have 21" wheels but the 19" tires are supposed to be GoodYear and the 21" tires are supposed to be Continental.

"19" cast aluminum wheels with all-season tires
Goodyear Eagle RS-A2 245/45R19). Note: optional
21" wheels come with Continental Extreme Contact
DW 245/35R21 tires"

Teoatawki | April 11, 2012

On the plus side, at least the front tires are the same as the rear tires, so you should be able to rotate them to balance the wear.

Jason S | April 11, 2012

Continental tires are usually pretty good. The ones we're getting on the 21" aren't run flat anyhow, so I wouldn't prejudge them based on some cruddy tires made for a 2008 Charger.

I tend to prefer Michelin tires anyhow.

DallasTXModelS | April 11, 2012

@Jason S, The fact that they were on a Charger is not the problem, the problem was that they were manufactured by Continental. Continental was who lost the suit, not Daimler Benz.

Michelin has had 6 separate tire recalls between 2004 and 2009 according to NHTSA:

MICHELIN 305/50R20 120 H FAIL TO CONFORM TO FEDERAL MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY STANDARD 109. TIRES DO NOT MEET THE STRENGTH REQUIREMENTS.
(2/13/2004)

MICHELIN 225/50R17 94 H FAIL TO CONFORM TO FEDERAL MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY STANDARD 139. THE "DOT" SYMBOL OF THE DOT TIN IS MISSING.
(1/16/2009)

MICHELIN PILOT POWER ADHESION IS REDUCED BETWEEN THE TREAD RUBBER AND THE UNDERLYING TEXTILE REINFORCEMENT PLY WHICH CAN MANIFEST ITSELF AS A LOCALIZED DEFORMATION, VIBRATION, OR THE TEARING OUT OF PIECES OF THE TREAD AFTER OPERATION AT HIGH SPEEDS. (6/21/2007)

MICHELIN PILOT POWER 2CT ADHESION IS REDUCED BETWEEN THE TREAD RUBBER AND THE UNDERLYING TEXTILE REINFORCEMENT PLY WHICH CAN MANIFEST ITSELF AS A LOCALIZED DEFORMATION, VIBRATION, OR THE TEARING OUT OF PIECES OF THE TREAD AFTER OPERATION AT HIGH SPEEDS.
(6/21/2007)

MICHELIN 255/35ZR20 97 Y SOLD FOR USE AS REPLACEMENT TIRES AND ON SOME JAGAUR XJ8 VEHICLES. SUBJECT TIRES MAY DEVELOP A BLISTER ON THE SIDEWALL. (12/27/2005)

MICHELIN XDE TRUCK TIRES 10R22.5 LRG AND LRF FOR SCHOOL AND TRANSIT BUSES. CAN EXPERIENCE RAPID AIR LOSS DUE TO AN IRREGULARITY OF THE INNER LINER. (12/22/2004)

Maybe those are just cruddy tires made for Jagaurs XJ8?
Go figure.

stephen.pace | April 11, 2012

+1 MandL. I had never heard that Citroen air ride would allow running on just three wheels, but after your post, I immediately went to YouTube to check it out. Crazy stuff! I'm guessing the center of gravity with the battery being on the bottom is too low to allow this to happen on a Model S. And even if it could, it probably would not be great for the air ride component bearing the weight. But it would be so cool if it could. Those wacky French engineers!

Robert.Boston | April 13, 2012

The Citroen running on 3 wheels reminds me of a dog limping home with a wounded paw up in the air. :-)

DavidG | April 13, 2012

+1 MandL. I have a Honda 2 door Insight which effectively ran on 3 tires, and without affecting fuel economy! Effectively means the right rear tire was way under inflated. With left hand drive and me weighing 220 lbs, the 1950 lb car responded with weight over the other 3 wheels.

I thought for sure that low pressure would affect fuel economy. I only found it in a pre-trip safety test. I think if it were any of the other tires, it would have affected mileage and trigger a check.

This forces me to check periodically, regardless of what I see.

DavidG | April 13, 2012

Even with a compact spare, I generally carry 2 cans of Fix-A-Flat, so I can be nice and share one.

Volker.Berlin | April 16, 2012

That's a fun idea but mind you: "Limping on three legs" is anything but recommended by "those wacky French engineers". The Citroen's suspension is designed to move up a wheel merely in order to simplify the usage of a lifting jack, so you simply put the jack under your car and then have the car pull up the wheel, rather than manually lifting the car.

On the other hand, it is not designed to drive the car in that mode! Also note that driving is only possible with the rear right "leg" up, because the driver is sitting in the front left seat. It does not work for the three other wheels (unless you use some heavy ballast to balance out the car). So yes, this is a funny youtube video, but no, it is not a viable idea for Tesla (or any car).

jerry3 | April 16, 2012

Three wheels always work on my 1969 DS-21. Much better than trying to change the flat tire on the side of the road or driving on the flat and ruining the tire and the wheel.

I fail to see why it wouldn't work on a Tesla.

Volker.Berlin | May 11, 2012

As I mentioned above, air suspension can dramatically simplify lifting the car on a jack if need be. From a shot from David den Boer's gallery, the Model S' air suspension control seems to have a dedicated "Jack" setting which makes me believe that the Model S supports "lifting its leg", too.
http://gallery.me.com/denboer#100080/IMG_1969

(Whether or not you can pull the three-legged limp stunt with the Model S remains to be seen. I'd assume that theoretically it can do this, but it will require messing with the software in ways that are not endorsed.)

jerry3 | May 11, 2012

Hopefully Tesla with "mess with the software" themselves to provide this functionality. It's a great safety feature.

dborn @nsw.au | May 12, 2012

Back on topic- Fix-a-flat effectively ruins the interior of the tire, and repairers will not then plug the hole as the interior of the tire is full of sticky junk. It is amazing how both my wife and I have picked up sundry screws.nails which have caused punctures. One has to wonder how they penetrate given that they are unsupported on the road, and just how hard it is to force one into a tire with pliers!!

stephen.kamichik | May 12, 2012

I guess when the tire contacts the nail or screw head, the point is lifted up towards the tire and the weight of the car pushes the nail/screw into the tire puncturing it.

Butch | May 13, 2012

Although they do not happen often, there are punctures that cannot be repaired with the Fix-A-Flat or even at a tire repair station. For example, several years ago, I was backing my Prius out of a hangar. The hangar had a 5/8" bolt sticking out of the floor in the middle of the doorway to help support the hangar door against wind. I backed over the bolt and put a large hole in the tire that was unrepairable. Having the small spare restricted to 45 mph saved me a lot of time. BTW, we painted the bolt bright orange after that and tied bright pink flagging tape to it.

jerry3 | May 13, 2012

Not having a spare potentially means hours of down-time and perhaps a tow. If you're on a vacation it can just about ruin the entire trip. The fix-a-flat solution just insures you will purchase a new tire with every flat. You'll also replace the pressure sensor. A lot of oil is used to make a tire so it's the least eco-friendly and most expensive solution out there (with the possible exception of run-flat tires).

richard_lawson | May 13, 2012

Can we buy our own donut tire after market? Is there a reason we cannot?

jerry3 | May 13, 2012

If you can find one that has the same revolutions per mile and a wheel that has the correct offset so that the centre of the doughnut is where the mid point of the normal tire is, then it should be fine. The wheel will also need the correct brake clearance.

kevjo | July 12, 2012

It would be nice if Tesla at the very least offered a spare. It seems like there are enough res holders out there who would want one to make it worthwhile.

kevjo | July 12, 2012

*offered a spare as an option.

stevenmaifert | July 12, 2012

Let's hope there are some markets out there that require a spare by regulation. Otherwise, if we make enough noise about this maybe TM will relent and offer an "opportunity tire" :)

stephen.kamichik | July 12, 2012

We can always buy a rim and tire and save a few dollars.

olanmills | July 12, 2012

Yes I would like the "opportunity" to install a spare tire and drive to the mechanic to get the tire repaired rather being forced into the opportunity of having to spend an extra $200 for a two truck ride for something as minor as tire damage.

Let's have an opportunity wheel! lol

Teoatawki | July 12, 2012

That's what AAA is for!

skystream3.7 | July 13, 2012

you talk about a spare tire, but what will you do with it? Don't you need a car jack? tools that can change a tire? You talk about a tire but there is more to it than just a tire. I was told you are getting nothing no tires, no Tools, no nothing. Sorry you will get a can of fix a flat.

skystream3.7 | July 13, 2012

I also have question about the way you change your tire?
can you damage the car lifting it to change the tire? i take a floor jack put it under the battery and lift the car up and battery coolant starts dripping. is there a spot you can only lift the car at? you would not want to lift a car using the oil pan as your access point? right? just a thought have they thought about this?

Timo | July 13, 2012

There are (has to be) points to lift the car, changing flat is not the only time you want to change tires. Tools and jack to lift the car fit easily into frunk with the tire, frunk is large enough that you can fit a adult person in it. If you want you can make yourself a spare tire space.

BYT | July 13, 2012

Would be cool if you had independent control of the Active Air Suspension to have 3 tires drop all the way down and select the one you want to change the tire on to lift all the way up. I don't think it works that way however.

Volker.Berlin | July 13, 2012

BYT, that has been discussed, and actually in this very thread. ;-) Just go back to square page one, there are some fun comments on cars that can "limp on three legs".

BYT | July 13, 2012

LOL, thanks V.B, made searching for a duplicate reply a little too easy for you this time... ;)

jerry3 | July 13, 2012

The air suspension controls have a "jack" position, so you shouldn't need a jack--you might need a jack-stand though. No one has yet examined this issue in detail. You'll have to supply your own 4-way spanner though.

stevenmaifert | July 13, 2012

1) The owner's manual should state the location(s) where the car can be safely lifted. In this video: http://vimeo.com/43997600 the conveyor forks are making contact at the rocker panels.

2) Wouldn't even a doughnut spare have to be about 21" in diameter? Would that fit in the frunk?

3) Saw Beep. Beep on the specs page, but not fix-a-flat. I think we're on our own for that.

foto | July 13, 2012

I asked the guys at the drive event at DC today but they weren't sure. I gestured to get under the car and check but was told it probably was not going to be in the test drive cars as those were Betas and not final production models.

ddruz | July 13, 2012

foto, Double checking: you were told that the test drive cars were betas and not production cars? Is that correct?

jwcormier | July 13, 2012

In DC today the guy who was conducting the driver "training" kept saying that the cars were betas. The two of us in the room at the time were clearly not happy with that statement. Upon pressing him further, he said that the cars were built in early June on the assembly line with all the same specs as a production car, but because the cars would never be sold, he didn't consider them production cars but rather betas. He said it was just terminology without a difference. It was quite a frustrating few minutes.

My understanding is that, notwithstanding the *very* poor choice of wording, the DC (and indeed all the test drive cars) are effectively production models. Someone calling them "beta" cars and not understanding how loaded that statement is was more a reflection of how little that person pays attention to the forums.

I hope that this helps.

Timo | July 14, 2012

@stevenmaifert, 21" rim + actual tire width. However we have all seen how that frunk can fit normal-sized adult man, I'm only about 6 feet tall and just my leg from heel to knee is about 22" so I can almost guarantee that low-profile 21" tire fits into frunk. Haven't actually measured that though, but I would be really surprised if that is not the case.

stevenmaifert | July 14, 2012

Timo - Thanks. Hope you are right. I'm okay driving around town without a spare, but need the peace of mind for driving x-country.

jerry3 | July 14, 2012

People who have measured the frunk have said that the 21" will not fit. The 19" may fit with the frunk liner removed (it just lifts out as far as I know). The only measurements so far have been done in Beta cars, but it's unlikely that the size of the frunk has changed.

Timo | July 14, 2012

If that is the case it is surprising. I wonder how that person hiding in it had folded himself to fit in less space than that. Flexible guy. Maybe smaller than I remember him being too.

Here is a picture of that: http://autos.yahoo.com/photos/tesla-model-s-first-drive-slideshow/tesla-...

You might be correct, it does look a bit tight for tire in front to back direction. 21" and 19" tires have same outer diameter though, so if 19" fit then 21" fit too and if not then neither fit. 21" is low profile tire.

jerry3 | July 14, 2012

They have the same "nominal overall diameter" and presumably very close to the same revs per mile. But the tread width and profie are different with the 21" tire having a wider tread and being more "square" than the 19". This makes it possible for one tire to fit where the other one won't. However, I didn't do the measuring so "grain of salt" is in order. And it wasn't like they had two mounted tires to try.

Brian H | July 14, 2012

Carry a 12V air pump and stuff the tire in the frunk deflated.

Or strap it to the roof rack.

KIDDING! >;)

jerry3 | July 14, 2012

Probably the best thing to do is to keep a worn out tire there. it will be slightly smaller in diameter, so it has a better chance of fitting, and will cost only the price of the wheel. Because you're only using it until you can get the active tire fixed or replaced there's no problem with it being worn out.

jerry3 | July 14, 2012

The problem with a deflated tire is that it's likely to be damaged while sitting in the frunk, and even if you inflate to 10 psi to prevent that, at 10 psi it won't be any smaller.

Brian H | July 14, 2012

Jerry;
I was thinking 0 psi, squashable. ;)

jerry3 | July 15, 2012

Brian,

Zero psi will allow you to damage the belts--they aren't very strong when not backed by air pressure. That's why the 8 to 10 psi minimum in the tire.

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